Firefall is a free-to-play MMO shooter with an emphasis on dynamic events, skill-based combat and desperate defences against sometimes overwhelming enemy forces. All of which sounds promising, but Firefall also features a lack of variety, constant busywork and a set of interconnected systems that sit awkwardly against the moment-to-moment drudgery of the game. It has potential. The problem is that, in almost every instance, it fails to meet the ideal it's trying to sell.
CEO and Founder of Red 5 Studios Mark Kern announced that the company is laying off 10 percent of its staff. "As Firefall matures, we must transition our priorities and our development strategy to focus on streamlined operations and live product support," Kern said.
How would you like to try Red 5's upcoming open world multiplayer alien blaster, Firefall? It's got jetpacks, and creepy crawly beasties, and it's set on the golden beaches of Copacabana hundreds of years in the future. Thanks to a terrible event involving an asteroid and a malfunctioning spaceship, future Earth is wrapped in a glittering purple miasma called The Melding that makes it look like a wrapped sweet from orbit. Sadly, the shiny purple stuff is terribly poisonous to the remaining vestiges of humanity, and it has warped all of Earth's creatures into aggressive mutants. That's more than enough excuse forge sweet sets of robo-armour and start the fight back.
If you'd like to spend a weekend helping humanity save Earth from a terrible purple death, follow the link below for a chance to win one of 5,000 beta keys!
It's a shooter. It's an MMO. It's got jetpacks, armies of aliens to blast and a focused 5v5 player vs. player combat. Firefall defies quick description. The best way to get a sense for Red 5's MMOFPS is to jump in and start shooting yourself. We have 5,000 keys to this weekend's beta test session ready to distribute among soldiers willing to leap to planet Earth's defense. Read on to for a chance to take your place alongside the noble defenders of Copacabana.
There's only one thing worse than a witch, and that's a witch in a jetpack. Halloween has invaded Firefall, bringing scary masks, cobwebs, tombstones, "bat bombs" and ghostly consumables to New Eden. There are also new monsters to kill, like the Wrym (a worm), the Nautilus (evil tentacle with tentacles attached), feral canines (evil dogs) and jungle harriers (haunted vertical takeoff and landing jets).
The Firefall Halloween patch notes also list a few new abilities for each class like "Firecat Burnjets" that let you hover over enemies and incinerate with jets attached to your feet, "Rhino explosive rounds" that hit enemies with all the force of an exploding rhino and the Raptor Supercharge shot which will "make your friends more awesome… by shooting them!"
As we reported last week, Firefall developers Red 5 Studios have organised a six-day shindig, Firefall Fest, featuring celebs, prizes and more.
And, good news! You can consume all the festivities without leaving your chair, using the official livestream to watch all 11 three-hour sessions, each of which sees devs share the stage with different noted nerd-personages, including caster Day, videogame satirists Mega 64, actress Felicia Day, actor-turned-geek-deity Wil Wheaton, and Captain Mal himself, Nathan Fillion.
Check back here for our coverage of the event - Rich McCormick is our possibly-quite-jetlagged man on the ground. Hit the jump for the full schedule.
It looks as though Firefall's summer milestone updates will have a significant impact on the behaviour of each class. New weapons and subtle changes in each character's role are sure to have important knock-on effects in Firefall's firefights. Take the medic as an example, he'll no longer be called a medic, he'll be a "biotech," with more offensive capabilities and a skill that lets him fart out noxious fumes as he runs to dissuade pursuers. His insta-revive will be tweaked, so he has to get close before he can revive an ally.
The Engineer, meanwhile, has a new lightning cannon that does more damage the longer it's trained on an enemy. He can also throw down multiple mini-turrets and shields to cower behind. See all of those abilities in the two trailers below.
The latest Firefall video from Red 5 gives us an overview of some of the changes that the team will make to the Assault class battleframe when the huge summer milestone update lands. The aggressive short/mid range specialist is being tweaked to better reflect his role as a fast attacker. Assault fighters will have less hitpoints, but more speed than any other class. They won't be able to rely on excessive splash damage to take enemies out, either. Their area-of-effect attacks have been toned down and their weapon set tweaked with more precise, skill based weapons like a railgun and the fusion cannon. Allow combat designers Justin Hanson and John Deshazer to elaborate in this here video.
Some games reward nosy players for their exploration with a pot of gold or a new sword, but a great view or an interesting place is so much more rewarding. That sensation of climbing up a gruelling mountain, coming over a ridge and seeing a gorgeous vista unfold before you is one of the things that games like Skyrim do so well. It looks as though Firefall is trying a similar trick. Mushroom rock is the perfect example of how to put a good view to good use.
Firefall will be free to play when it's out, but the only way to strap on a jetpack right now is to sign up for a spot on the Firefall beta. For more on Firefall, check out Mark Kern's impressive hologram powers in the last Firefall trailer, in which he also talks about Red 5's plans for rolling out Firefall.
If you're interested in the key Mark Kern's success as CEO of Red 5, look no further than the 2:28 mark in the latest Firefall dev diary when he starts using his holo-magical powers to explain Firefall's intriguing progression system. Imagine being able to pull a diagram out of thin air. You'd win every meeting you walked into, and you'd make a pretty great Bond villain, at a pinch. I'm not saying that Mark Kern is a Bond villain per se, just that he's sitting in the sort of bar you could well find hidden in the depths of a volcano base. And then there's the bit where he crushes the Earth IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND at 3:30. Just saying.
You can sign up for the beta and become part of Red 5's diabolical machinations on the Firefall site. It's looking very smart indeed.
SOPA protests: Minecraft, Firefall, Reddit going dark next week. Nvidia, Runic and Frozenbyte come out against the bill
Earlier this week Reddit announced that they would be switching off for twelve hours next Wednesday from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC) in protest at the Stop Online Piracy Act. Today Red 5 Studios and Mojang have announced that they will also go dark and Nvidia, Runic and Frozenbyte have voiced their opposition to the bill.
Red 5 CEO, Mark Kern confirmed to Shacknews that "Red 5 Studios is joining Reddit in protest of SOPA by going dark on January 18. We will be taking down our website, community site and Firefall beta for 24 hours on the 18th."
"We are extremely disappointed in this misguided legislation. We are also ashamed of the ESA for supporting a bill which is clearly not in the best interests of gamers or the game industry. This bill, and it's sister bill, Protect IP, will shut down live streaming, shout casting, user generated content and have a chilling effect on game innovation and social media," he added.
On Twitter, Notch has mentioned that Minecraft.net and Mojang.com will go down next Wednesday in protest.
Class balance is the subject of the new Firefall developer diary, but it's hard to listen to the disembodied voices of the devs when jetpacks and explosions are happening all over the screen. It's not just the giant laser beams and group battles against invading alien vessels that makes Firefall so attractive, or even that it's going to be free to play. It's just refreshing to see a game that's so damn colourful. Less post-apocalyptic wastelands and more mushroom forests, please! You can sign up for the Firefall beta now on the Firefall site.
So far the best part of Firefall's mobile battle suits has been the jet packs, but the main selling point of the Dreadnaught's extra-chunky armour is that it lets him stand very, very still. Magic-netic boots can bind him to almost any surface, turning him into a stationary gun platform from which he can launch Firefall's heaviest ordnance. See an armoured mecha-man adopt horse stance and let rip with a chain-gun in the new trailer above, spotted on RPS.
In recognition of the fact that being stationary isn't the most exciting selling point for a suit of robotic armour, the video also shows off the DREAD FIELD, which whips up an an electrical storm around the suit, draining enemy energy and using it to boost weapon power. The new abilities are nice, but can they make up for the lack of flight power? Luckily, we'll all get to find out. Firefall will be free to play when it's released later this year.
A few weeks ago we introduced Mark Kern's "Circle of Suck." But we also talked to the Red 5 dev about the difficulties of creating a free to play MMO. Turns out it's pretty damn difficult.
"I think there are horrible ways to implement free-to-play" said Mark.
"You’ve got to understand that for a lot of these large publishers, it’s very hard for them to comprehend how free-to-play would work and to take the risk of doing free-to-play with an AAA game."
The Red 5 developer says that too much greed can break the model: "They’re under the mentality that everybody must pay; no-one gets a free ride. And so you get these warped models like, 'buy the box, pay a subscription, we’ll give you in-game advertising and you have to buy microtransactions or sell power all at the same time.' That doesn’t really work."
Compared to the whimsical cliff-diving of the last Firefall trailer, the PAX video, spotted on RPS, has a much darker tone. It's narrated by one of the enigmatic enemies of mankind, the Chosen. There's talk of "struggle" and clawing at the dirt. Clawing at the dirt? Here's a word for you, "jetpacks." We'll get to strap them on and fight the forces of evil for free when Firefall comes out later this year. A closed beta is starting right now. You can sign up for a chance to participate on the Firefall site.
A new Firefall blog post, spotted on Evil Avatar, outlines Red 5's plans for rolling out their rather exciting free to play shooter, Firefall. It's in closed beta testing among family and friends of the dev team right now, but Red 5 plan to send out a round of beta invites shortly after the conclusion of PAX Prime at the end of this month.
Firefall doesn't have an official release date, and won't be getting one. As far as the developers are concerned, they've already launched. Firefall will roll out gradually, growing in size with every wave of invites until the game is live and everyone who wants in can play. In December, the item store will open and the character servers will be reset. You can sign up for a chance to take part in the beta on the Firefall site.
Red 5 have released a new video showing their upcoming free-to-play persistent world shooter Firefall in action. The video shows plenty of the weird alien creatures that inhabit Firefall's alternative vision of Earth, and many different ways in which to blast them. The huge open world locations and massive night time fire fights are looking great. Check out the video below.